How to Obtain Israeli Citizenship

By Brittany Luongo

There are four ways to obtain citizenship to Israel. The first method falls under the Law of Return, which dictates that Jewish people and their families have full rights to immigrate and gain citizenship to Israel at any time. Individuals who are born to a citizen of Israel, regardless of birth location, also have the ability to gain citizenship to the country. A naturalization appeal is another way to obtain citizenship and requires an individual to live in Israel for an extended period of time. Finally, there are residence laws, which allow those who lived in Israel before 1948 for an extended period to return and reinstate citizenship.

Methods

Determine which method of citizenship acquisition best fits your personal situation. If you can apply under the Law of Return, go to step 2. If you can obtain citizenship by rights of birth, go to step 3. Step 4 will give advice on how to apply for naturalization, and step 5 will discuss residency law citizenship.

To apply for citizenship through the Law of Return, provide proof that you are a Jewish individual or the child or spouse of a Jewish person wishing to immigrate to Israel. Citizenship is granted the day the person arrives in the country, when an oleh’s certificate is acquired at the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption. Be sure to have proper identification like passport and photo I.D.

If a person has proof of being born to a man or woman with Israeli citizenship, the individual is automatically considered a citizen of the country. The birth certificate of the person is considered a qualifying proof of citizenship.

Become a citizen in Israel through naturalization by proof of residency in the country for at least three years of the past five years. Fill out forms for naturalization and submit them to the Minister of the Interior. The naturalized person will remain in Israel permanently and must relinquish any former nationality. The minister will decide whether or not the individual will be awarded citizenship based on these guidelines.

Residence laws are generally made for non-Jewish individuals seeking Israeli citizenship. This method is very specific. Those who lived in Israel before the Arab-Israeli War in 1948 may be considered citizens. This method is only applicable to those who were part of population registrations in the 1950s and 1980s in Israel.